Clarity in the Fog
Today is the first day of my career break. I thought it was going to be very surreal and I would take a while to work out what I wanted to do first. However, it seems to be completely the opposite. I am totally motivated to start doing things and I know exactly what I am going to do first.
I woke up this morning at about 4am (only slightly due to alcohol induced dehydration) and my mind was already ticking over with the things that I could start doing.
The original plan was to spend the first 4 days of my break continuing paddling down the Murrumbidgee (Gundagai to Wagga Wagga), however due to all the physical isolation restrictions (confusions) going on, I decided to cancel that trip and stay home. Fortunately we have plenty of water and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park at the end of our road, so I was able to head out for an early morning paddle. It was great to get on the water again after a couple of weeks of healing my sore wrist (which seems to be better) and to be paddling in water that is deeper than a foot.
Paddling is when I do all my thinking. For me, spending a few hours out in the water, in your own head, with the repetitive sound of the paddle pulling through the water, has proven to be better than any meditation technique I have ever tried. Today was especially good for deep thinking, because I was paddling in pea soup fog. Only being able to see a few metres in front of me removed all distractions and allowed me to start processing the jumble of thoughts racing through my head.
My biggest point of clarity was that I now have a lot of time on my hands and no set deadlines for anything. Rather than wondering what I am going to be doing in the next few months or years, I can focus on what I want to do now. I can basically pick a project from my list of things I want to do and start working on it.
So what is the first project going to be? Well, I have decided it is time to resurrect the Aunty Monkey Podcast. It has been 1.5 years since we have recorded an episode and I have been thinking about starting it up again for a while. With all the shit going on with Covid-19 at the moment, I figured that this is the ideal to provide balloonists with a bit of light relief from all the stresses and frustrations they are facing. So that is my project for this week. I already have a couple of exciting guests lined up and now I just have to remember how to set up all the recording equipment and editing tools again.
The other thing I decided this morning (I told you I did lots of thinking) was to make this blog a more public. I have been writing this blog for the last 10 years now and never really publicised it. Not because it is private, it is just that I never really thought anyone would want to read my random ramblings. Every now and then I have moments when I feel like writing and it has basically been my own personal journal. A journal that I occasionally go back to look at when I am feeling nostalgic or want to remember when or where a previous adventure was. With my departure from work and all the talk about some of my future plans, people have been asking me to share my adventures with them. So I figure there is no better way than via this blog. I will leave it to people (you I guess… if you are actually reading this) to decide if you want to bother reading my random thoughts.
I also thought it was a good way to share some of the other things I am doing. Little things like what I am reading, watching, listening to, learning etc. So I am going to try (this could be terribly short lived) and post a summary of those things on a regular basis. So here is the first list:
Reading: Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada’s Arctic – Adam Shoalts
Learning: Over the last year or so, I have been doing a lot of learning about photography and film production using Creative Live. I am currently going through the Storytelling on Location class by Corey Rich, who is one of my favourite producers of adventure photography and film.
Gadget I am Loving: Even though I have had my Garmin inReach GPS for a while, a couple of weeks ago, while paddling solo on the Murrumbidgee, I started using the full inReach features. The SOS function acts as an EPIRB if there is an emergency. I was able to use it to message (via satellite) Kath and my folks when I had no mobile service and they were able to track my location and progress.